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Zanzibar, an East African Hideaway

After our tours in Stone Town, it was time to head off to Hideaway of Nungwi, (part of the Leading Hotels of The World group) a 45min drive from Zanzi Resort. I love taking long drives through any city or town. It allows you to see what the locals get up to everyday. The streets are lined with homes, stores, men sitting under the shade of trees, kids on break at school and people working on plantations.

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We walked into the lobby area and were warmly welcomed by the team. We had to take a moment to admire the view. Sheer beauty! On our first trip, the resort was full so we only managed to book a junior suite, which was very comfortable; the décor was warm and inviting and had a Moroccan feel to it.

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The carved wooden doors and mirrors are just stunning! All suites have a stunning view of the ocean, a patio, small lounge and a large bathroom and closet.

On our recent trip we booked into one of their prestigious beach villas, closer to the beach. It has its own Jacuzzi and pool, large bathroom, and closet, separate lounge and patio. Our butler and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine welcomed us. You get assigned a butler in the prestige villa who was helpful but not too overbearing.

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There is Wi-Fi in all public areas, which was great, except it wasn’t always working. The junior suites have to use a plug-in – which is a slight inconvenience, but the prestige beach villa does have its own Wi-Fi that consistently worked well.

There are 2 rates available, a bed and breakfast rate, or an all-inclusive rate. They have 1 buffet restaurant (Aqua) and 2 al la Carte restaurants. (Carnivorous – and Tappanyaki) The food on our first trip in October was undoubtedly better – it was fairly good this time round. They have a large selection of Swahili and international cuisine with plenty to choose from including live stations, grills, curries, pasta, pizza, stir-fries etc.

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YES, they do have a large white sandy beach that goes on and on! Perfect for long walks on the beach. The resort itself is on a slight hill, so the view of the gardens and the ocean from the suites; bars, restaurants and pool area are all spectacular.

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You have the option of relaxing on the beach, which has a bar, and lounger service or at the infinity pool with a drinks/snacks service as well. There is always live music or entertainment in the evenings to enjoy, which creates a festive and later, a breezy relaxed atmosphere.

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We loved the Shisha and Cigar lounge while there in October, but sadly when we visited in January, there were no cigars/shisha’s on offer due to lack of staff.

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There are many adventures and tours you can book through the concierge and hotel including your diving and snorkeling trips. We had done our DSD (Discover scuba dive) with Simon who was so patient and a wonderful dive instructor. Our package also included a sunset Dhow cruise. We sailed across the sea watching the sunset while sipping on cocktails. It’s something you have to do, at least once whilst in Zanzibar.

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Hideaway is a big resort, but thankfully it never feels over crowded. We did make use of the spa, beautiful layout with an open courtyard and Jacuzzi. The spa treatments were very average. In future, I’ll only make use of the spa if the weather isn’t outdoor friendly. They also have a well-equipped gym for those wanting to burn off some calories while watching the sunset.

In January, we were slightly disappointed that the hotel could not offer us a special dinner on our anniversary, even after I requested it when we made the booking. From my experience, most leading resorts offer couples a beach dinner or something special. They did have a hi-tide disaster on the beach a few days before, so I am not sure if that was the reason for not offering us a private dinner. They did eventually offer us dinner on our patio after we made some enquiries – but we opted to enjoy dinner at one of their restaurants instead.

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Overall we had a wonderful stay, and will return to Hideaway of Nungwi. It is an ideal getaway for couples, a bunch of friends or family. It has all the facilities a 5 star resort needs, and you will certainly enjoy your time there.

My advice would be to stay closer to town on the first leg of your trip and then spend the remainder of your trip at a luxury resort soaking up the African sun and enjoying the warmth of the Indian Ocean.

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It was time for us to pack our bags and head off to my ultimate barefoot paradise, Mnemba Island.

Zanzibar (Part One)

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I’m sitting on a beach with soft white sand and a glistening azure ocean before me and I wonder why I haven’t yet written a post about this beautiful place called Zanzibar, an archipelago of islands, with the main one known as Zanzibar.

With glistening beaches, cobbled streets, warm people and a taste of the east, this spice island is certainly a unique African experience.

Right now I am on the magical barefoot paradise – Mnemba Island. You will hear all about it in part 3 of my Zanzibar mini series.

My husband and I are island babies, we love the water, warm weather and sunshine, we also happen to prefer shorter flying times. So after visiting Mauritius a few times as well as Seychelles we decided to try something a little closer. (Especially now that Mango offers a direct flight from Johannesburg, twice a week)

Usually, you would have to fly into Dar es Salaam and then fly to Zanzibar. Direct flights are winners!

If you are a business/first class flier, this short economy flight isn’t too bad at all. (If the flight isn’t full) The flying time is just over 3 hours and there is wifi on the plane, which will keep you occupied.

On our first trip we decided to stay at Mnemba island as well as one of the resorts on the main island so we could get in some tours. I always use trip advisor, as travellers are honest and open about their experiences. When we holiday for leisure – we prefer to choose places that are – as good as or better than our home. (That’s if we aren’t backpacking through a country of course)

At the time, Zanzi resort was no. 1 as it had great reviews. We also wanted to stay closer to Stone Town in order for us to be able to get in our tours easily.

Our first trip to Zanzibar was in October 2013. We were promptly collected from the airport and whisked away to the resort- about a 20min drive from the airport. Zanzibar reminds me a lot if India, the lush vegetation, the plantations, the buildings and the heart of its people. Zanzibar was once an Omani colony so the arab influence certainly remains in the culture, the architecture and the cuisine.

Our host Katherine and friendly staff warmly welcomed us, had a quick chat and some chilled coconut water and then we were shown to our villa. The gardens are beautifully kept with each villa very private.

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The villa is well appointed with a lounge, bathroom, bedroom, patio and a garden view that extends to the ocean, a large swimming pool and day bed area outside for lounging.

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I didn’t fall in love with the décor, but it was neat, fresh and simple. You have access to the ocean directly from your garden. It is indeed beautiful, but there isn’t a beach. During low tide, there is a carpet of coral and rock. You can swim out but only during high tide.

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Breakfast lunch and dinner can be served in your villa or in the dining area. I felt the in-room dining menu was too limited. Service is very good, but the food lacked overall flavour. We were not ecstatic about staying here – the deciding factor was the beach, I did expect a big white sandy beach, but unfortunately their beach is very very small and extremely rocky.

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I was disappointed as I do quite a bit of research before travelling and I felt I failed on this one.

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I then went back onto the net and came across a fairly new resort up north, Hideaway of Nungwi. It looked lovely and was recently added on a booking site we trust.

We stayed at Zanzi Resort for 2 nights as it was close to stone town. We got a chance to do the Stone Town and The Spice tours. What an experience that was!

Zanzibar is a Muslim state, so when visiting stone town, it’s always good to respect the culture of the people, it’s best to wear trousers/skirts below the knee and sleeved blouses/tops.

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Stone town is full of history and you’ll want to absorb it all! It’s a true mix of old and modern. With bustling little lanes, food aromas on every corner, beautifully carved doors and colourful markets you’re sure to soak it all up. I got to sample some chapatti’s we saw being made at the back of a little Swahili restaurant, it was delicious!

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The spice tour was my favourite, our guide was funny and kept us entertained. Our most fascinating discovery was the fact that menthol comes from the root of the cinnamon tree! Nature never fails to amaze me. And of course we were declared king and queen of the spice plantation with snazzy crowns made by one of the local village boys.

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I purchased some spices, all were good with the exception of a ginger tea which I love making, but it wasn’t to my liking. I think I’ll stick to my usual 5 roses with added fresh ginger.

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On our last night, Zanzi were kind to offer us a private beach dinner. It was set up beautifully, the seafood fresh and delicately prepared. We truly appreciated the wonderful send off.

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Zanzi Resort is close to town so could be a place to stay if you are touring the surrounding areas. To enjoy the luxurious white sandy beaches Zanzibar has to offer, it’s best to move up north.

Stay tuned for Part 2. (Hideaway Of Nungwi)

I Love Durban Launch

Being an actress and presenter, I’ve always found it important to take time out to support events from my hometown, especially if it’s the launch of the hottest growing community in South Africa, called “I Love Durban” launched, by award winning company Carver Media. I was honored to be invited as the programme director for the launch and even more humbled to be dressed by internationally acclaimed designer Gavin Rajah who teamed up with creative Cape Town food genius Annalize Buchanan to provide the fabulous food and fashion segment on the night, held at the beautiful five star Beverly Hills hotel.

This event had all social media platforms a buzz, as people couldn’t stop talking about the exciting launch and its wonderful food, entertainment and atmosphere. Invited speakers who came to share messages of support and admiration of the brand and its purpose. Speakers such as The Head of Durban Tourism; Phillip Sithole, City councilor; Logie Naidoo and Canadian best selling author of book, Mind Power; John Kehoe. These speakers were amongst other valued partners to the brand which included Durban staples; King Shaka International Airport, Durban ICC, Tyson Properties, Durban Tourism and Transnet.

Avilash Aniruth, Co-Founder of I Love Durban and CEO of Carver Media shared his gratitude with his guests at the end of the night’s formalities. Speaking on his vision for the brands future and the importance of the message behind the I Love Durban brand in the city, he went on to thank his wife, ICT entrepreneur of the year award recipient, Praneetha Aniruth who is also the Co-Founder of the I Love Brand and played an important role in the growth of this online brand which has reached 8 million people to date, on its Twitter (@ILuvDBN) and Facebook (I Love Durban) platforms.

I am very excited about the future as “I Love Durban” has many projects in the pipeline that will showcase the true beauty and dynamic nature of this city. One of them being the launch of Durban’s first “I love Durban City Guide” in 2014 with Gavin Rajah as the first guest editor.

A special thanks to Neil Ramataur for doing my hair and make-up, you really know how to make a girl look and feel beautiful.

Farewell Tata!

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“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Nelson Mandela

The father of our nation is finally free. I feel heartbroken but also privileged and blessed to have lived and learned in the time of Nelson Mandela.

The world is a lesser place without you, but your legacy will live on and you will always be in our hearts.

Thank you for your courage and unconditional love.

Our Hero.

RIP Madiba (1918-2013)

Street Glam With People Magazine

Street Glam was the theme for my People Magazine shoot, and that, it certainly was! It was a beautiful day, albeit quite hot. Thankfully Jozi isn’t humid so we managed the heat. Our location was a well known intersection in the beautiful suburb of Rosebank. I had my make up and hair done by Carli at People Magazine towers and then we headed off with the fashion squad to Rosebank. If you missed the issue, here are some of the unpublished and behind the scene photographs. You can check out the actual fashion spread and interview under my press tab.

Enjoy! Xoxo

Look 1:
Luminous orange top (Parooz Fashions) Studded skirt (robot) Jewellery (Lovisa)



Look 2:
Crop top (reverse YDE) Sheer Skirt (Parooz) Peep Toe Heels (Palazzo Pitti)



Look 3:
Dress (ICON, YDE) Clutch (Robot) Blue Heels (Palazzo Pitti) Jewellery (Lovisa)



Look4:
Triangle earrings (Tessa Design) Blazer (Romeo and Juliet) Deconstructed Denim Shorts (Parooz Fashions) Gold snakeskin Clutch (Robot) White Heels (stylist’s own)



Look 5:
Black cap (Stylist’s own) White Vest (Rozanne and Pushkin) Denim Playsuit (Rozanne and Pushkin) Gold Chain Cuff (Lovisa)



Credits
Publication: People Magazine SA
Stylist: Suzy Mukendi
Photographer: Caileigh van der linde
Make up Artist/Fashion Assistant: Carli Linde
Clothing: Robot, YDE, Parooz Fashions, Rozanne & Pushkin, Palazzo Pitti, Lovisa, Tessa Design